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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Blog Tour - A Wash of Black by Chris McDonald

A Wash of Black by Chris McDonald


Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead.

The body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago.

DI Erika Piper, having only recently returned to work after suffering a near-fatal attack herself, finds she must once again prove her worth as the hunt for the media-dubbed ‘Blood Ice Killer’ intensifies.

But when another body is found and, this time, the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must do more than put aside her demons to crack the case, or suffer the deadly consequences.

Good morning! I'm blog touring again today. Or rather, hosting so the book can tour I guess.

Anyway, it's with a publisher I've only just discovered, Red Dog Press. This is the second of their books I've read. The first one was Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist, a feminist revenge thriller in the high tech start ups of Edinburgh. Today we have A Wash of Black by Chris McDonald, a Manchester-based slasher-killer detective yarn. Between the two books, I can definitely say that Red Dog Press are an independent publisher to look out for, for any crime fiction fans!

Right, that's enough preambling. On to the book!

A Wash of Black opens with a rather grizzly murder. The prologue actually shows the murder from the perspective of the killer, giving it a really gripping intro. After that everything is seen from the perspective of our hero, Detective Erika Piper. Erika is a great character. There's an incident in her past that is slowly revealed over the course of the book, and it's clearly affecting her. She's just returning to work after a year away and it has an impact on a lot of her relationships. This post-traumatic back story is done really well, and from the start it feels like these are people with history. Also her partner is called Liam, so straight away I liked him!

I really liked the idea of murders recreating movie screen deaths, though unfortunately that isn't really maintained through the whole book. I would have loved to see more discussion of the deaths in the novel series within this book. Even after two deaths no one ever seemed to ask what happened in the third book, which was a little disappointing. This was a fantastic idea that I think really should have been explored more.

The mystery at the heart of A Wash of Black is intriguing and works well. I guessed the culprit about halfway through, when a small clue was thrown out, but there were definitely enough twists and turns to keep me reading to the dramatic ending. The ending is excellent, though I won't go into any detail about just how the story unfolds.

Oh, and it has the absolute wildest book event I've seen. I'm glad I've never been at one with actual fisticuffs!

One surprising thing about A Wash of Black is the level of descriptive detail. Erika doesn't just get her laptop out, she finds a convenient plug socket and lifts the lid. She doesn't open her door without us knowing which pocket she took her key from. There are at least two sequences of police officers having trouble finding parking spaces. It feels almost cinematic, walking the reader carefully through scenes as we would see it on screen rather than taking literary shortcuts. This is also carried through in the detailed descriptions of characters' appearances and clothing. It fits well with the film-based murdering in the book.

A Wash of Black is a great detective versus killer novel, with an intriguing set-up and exciting payoff.

I'm giving A Wash of Black four moons.


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